CAST meeting

Earlier this week I could be found at a CAST meeting – CAST is a grassroots community activist group based in Southend-on-Sea which aims to support the self-determined needs of asylum seekers and refugees. CAST aims to bring communities together to address isolation and loneliness through hosting and friendship projects which build relationships of trust, inter-dependency, respect, and solidarity within Southend.

CAST stands for Communities and Asylum Seekers Together, although a portion of the meeting was taken up with a proposed name change – to Communities And Sanctuary seekers Together (keeping the same acronym).

The general view was that in some quarters ‘asylum seekers’ carries a lot of baggage, whereas ‘sanctuary seekers’ would at least encourage curiosity.

For my part I have no problem with the terms ‘asylum’ and ‘asylum seekers’. I think the term is generally understood by most people, although still lumped in with ‘immigration’ in many quarters (asylum seekers are definitely not immigrants). I understand that for some the debate shuts down when ‘asylum’ is uttered, and the hope here (as I interpret it anyway) is that describing asylum seekers as those searching for sanctuary will find a more receptive audience.

CAST’s online presence is a bit patchy at the moment, something that they are keen to improve.

There is a blog – https://castsouthend.wordpress.com/

There are two Facebook pages – https://www.facebook.com/SouthendCAST and https://www.facebook.com/CastCommunitiesAsylumSeekersTogether

They meet at the Trinity Family Centre in Westcliff-on-Sea and anyone is welcome to attend.

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